This year will be no exception for the 15th Annual event scheduled for June 3-5 at the Sikeston High School and Sikeston County Club tennis courts.
And as the tournament continues to expand, corporate sponsors continue to jump on the bandwagon to make the event even better.
This year the tournament will have the addition of Health Facilities Rehab Service and the Matthews Cotton Company.
Event organizer Tom Nunnelee, brother of the late Ed Nunnelee, hopes this year's tournament.
"Last year we added the Sikeston Lions Club and the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo and Joe Recker's State Farm Agency," said . This year we've added Sikeston Motor Company -- they always help us by providing a van for various uses -- the Matthews Cotton Company and we're very excited to have Health Facilities Rehab Service as a new sponsor. All together, we've got about 23 or 24 corporate sponsors that either give product of some kind of provide a cash contribution to help us fund the expenses of the tournament and providing amenities for players that participate from all over six states that people have come from over the last 15 years to play."
Nunnelee says in the 15 years the tournament has been going, no sponsor has ever dropped out.
"t's been really gratifying that anyone I've asked to help us, they've certainly been willing to participate," said Nunnelee. "The tournament has a lot of repeat players that come back year after year. We hope we have more kids this year --
I understand the state tournaments have been moved a little earlier so this year we won't have any conflicts with the state tennis tournament. We've lost some junior players that last three or four years, so hopefully the change will improve our numbers in juniors."
Health Facilities is on board this year to provide medical aid to participants in the tournament, something that has not been offered in the Nunnelee Tournament in the past.
"We help out with a lot of events around the area, from the Hooters Tournament and the rodeo, and we're just trying to be a part of the community --
offer our services as part of the growing tournament here that has gotten very big over the past few years," said Scott Heeb, vice president of Health Facilities Rehab Service. "We're just glad to be a part of it. We'll have an athletic trainer here to help with acute injuries, like a sprained ankle. And we're always here for advice, such as stretching and things like that for future use."
Tom Richey, a physical therapist with Health Facilities, will be on hand at the event along with other trainers.
"We're proud to be a sponsor this year and be able to provide sports massage and certified athletic trainers for the event," said Richey. "We've sponsored the Sikeston Open in the fall and other athletic events in the area, so we thought it would be a good idea to be a part of the Ed Nunnelee Tournament."
Health Facilities will also offer the services of Shelia Holifield, a certified massage therapist, who will be on site during the event.
"I will have my massage table here to do sports massage before or after a match, stretching and getting their muscles warmed up or helping them with soreness," said Holifield. "The chair will be available for neck and back mostly. I'm trained in sports massage and we'll just help them get ready for the event or not be so sore afterwards. Injury prevention is a big thing that massage is good for."
In addition to Health Facilities, Chris Matthews, of Matthews Cotton Co., will serve as the tournament director this year for the first time.
"They approached me and asked if I would be interested," said Matthews. "I've got kids coming along and I thought it would be a good idea to be the tournament director this year. The Health Facilities Rehab being here is something that's going to be unique -- I don't know if I've ever seen that at a tennis tournament at this level."
Co-director for the tournament will be long-time Ed Nunnelee Tournament volunteer Joe Childress.
"We're looking forward to another good year and hopefully a lot of good tennis, weather-permitting," said Childress.
In addition to being a fun and competitive tennis tournament, the event has provided scholarship money for a number of years to a Sikeston High School boy and girl graduate.
Proceeds from last year's tournament will be given out on May 9 at Sikeston High School.
Nunnelee said none of it would be possible without the sponsors and volunteers.
"We've had a lot of people that have assisted us in the past -- Kenny Anderson, Greg Colwick, Bob McCord III, Joe Childress, Lee Shell and now Chris this year," said Nunnelee. "It's been great to have these people volunteer their time and it's been a very heart-warming experience to see this thing grow, provide some good scholarship money and keep my brother's memory alive."